National Year of Reading- September- Grow

opening flower It’s almost September- time to chat about the National Year of Reading theme for the month, Grow. 

The love2read blog talks about the many options within this theme! Personal growth, self -help,  health & well being, pregnancy, parenting, growth industries, career changes, weight loss (if you’ve been baking cakes and ‘growing’) the environment, sustainablilty and gardening.

Here at Nowra Library our 3rd Wednesday Book Club is reading texts from the current HSC syllabus. We figure kids grow, and we’d like to see what they’re studying for the HSC later this year. Texts under study include English classics like Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre and modern classics like  Catch-22, Dune and Brave New World. Poets Emily Dickinson, Silvia Plath and John Keats, as well the Shakespeare, are all present, as are Australian authors Peter Carey and Tim Winton.

We’re looking forward to seeing how our book club members like walking in the shoes of our HSC students this month : )

Happy reading (and growing!) everyone!

3rd Wednesday Book Club- July- Discover

The National Year of Reading theme for July was Discover, and our book club members did some fantastic literary discovering of their own in celebration. From the history of London’s underground  to the Mayan calendar to what really happened with the second gunman on the grassy knoll, we read a wide range of ‘discovery’ books as well as many that  had absolutely nothing at all to do with the theme! As always, it’s an eclectic mix, and we love it!

July reads:

Stop What You’re Doing and Read This  – a celebration of reading by various authors, including Zadie Smith, Tim parks, Michael Rosen and Jeanette Winterson
Five Bells by Gail Jones
The River Wife by Heather Rose
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris
Handwriting by Michael Ondaatje
London Under by Peter Ackroyd
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
The 2012 Story by John Major Jenkins
11.22.63 by Stephen King
Oswald’s Tale by Norman Mailer
The Troubled Man by Henning Mankel
The Remnants by John Hughes
Verdi and/or Wagner by Peter Conrad
Grand Days by Frank Moorhouse
Never Apologise, Never Explain by James Craig
Season of Content by Jackie French
Carnival of the Dead by David Hewson
March by Geraldine Brookes
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Most talked about reads:

The 2012 Story by John Major Jenkins – ‘This is a comprehensive and detailed look at the Mayan culture, history and calendar that has spawned  the ‘End of the World’ scenario on 21 December 2012. It’s very scientific and no stone is left unturned. It’s not an ‘easy’ read, but nonetheless informative, eye opening and myth dispensing. Jump to Chapter 9 and read to the end. The true ‘prophecy’ will blow you away!’ (Elaine)

Cover image london Under London Under by Peter Ackroyd
‘This is a book about what can be discovered about old London by exploring the ground under present London.

Under London can be found places of worship and healing waters. The Bank of England underground vaults store the second biggest hoard of gold bullion on earth. In  the 18tyh century there was an underground prison- it was in use for 250 years and closed in 1877. There are underground rivers, like the Fleet River under Fleet Street.

Serious archaeological activity didn’t take place in London till after WWII, but when it did a complete Roman bathhouse was found under Lower Thames Street.
The 13 rivers and brooks of London still flow; but whereas they once went through fields and valleys, they are now contained by pipes and sewers.

The London Metropolitan Underground Railway was opened in January 1863; it was the first underground railway in the world. The trains were pulled by compact steam engines. There were complaints about the smoke and the smell. The first trains powered by electricity were introduced in 1890. It is interesting ti note that the incentive to build underground was driven by the congestion of cart and traffic in the streets.

Knowing what is underfoot is a discovery most of us will never make; but this book is really interesting reading- almost gripping at times! (Janet)

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka  – quirky, funny, surprising, this book has been read and loved by several book club members.

Author love-in

Tim Winton
Born in Perth in 1960, Tim Winton is the author of thirteen books, including novels, short stories, non-fiction and books for children. He began publishing fiction in his teens and his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the 1981 Australian/Vogel Prize. He has twice won the Miles Franklin Award, for Shallows in 1984 and for Cloudstreet in 1991, and his other awards include the Banjo Prize, the WA Premier’s Prize, the DEO Gloria Award (UK), the Marten Bequest and the Wilderness Society Environment Award. In 1995 The Riders was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Dirt Music – shortlisted for the Booker Prize, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary award and more – confirms Tim’s status as one of the finest novelists of his generation.

His collection of short stories called The Turning won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the 2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards.

Tim Winton has lived in Greece, France and Ireland. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and three children. (Author bio from http://www.panmacmillan.com.au)

Marina Lewycka
Marina Lewycka was born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1946 and moved to England with her family when she was about a year old. She spent most of her life since then trying to become a writer, and finally succeeded in 2005 with A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian which has sold more than a million copies in the UK alone. This was followed by Two Caravans in March 2007, We Are All Made of Glue in July 2009 and Various Pets Alive and Dead in March 2012.


There was  also some discussion this month about the International Thriller Writers Society. Here’s some information about the society, and a link to their website:

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas.

ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.” ITW By-laws: Article II, Purposes, Section 2.

One of the main purposes of the organization is to provide a way for successful, bestselling authors to help debut and midlist authors advance their careers. To that end, ITW has designed numerous, effective programs and events which promote debut and midlist writers and their work, sometimes in partnership with bestselling authors. In addition, ITW promotes literacy, gives money to worthy organizations, supports libraries, and advances the genre. Finally, it brings together almost a thousand writers, readers, publishers,  editors and agents at its annual conference, ThrillerFest, as well as at CraftFest, a writing workshop program, and AgentFest, where aspiring authors can meet and pitch top literary agents. (http://thrillerwriters.org/aboutitw/)

3rd Wednesday Book Club- March 2012 – Think

This month’s National Year of Reading theme is Think. To keep with the theme, we focused on ‘Books That Made Us Think’:

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Art Lover by Andromeda Romano
Hand Me Down World by Lloyd Jones
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Panic by David Marr
Here I Stand by Martin Luther

Other reads for the month:

Ghostheart
by RJ Ellory
Inventing Beatrice by Jill Golden
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood
An Echo in the Bone Diana Gabaldon
The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
What Was Mine by Anne Beatty (short stories)
The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
1984  by George Orwell
Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson (Cited by one of members as ‘the most beautiful love story you will ever read).
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
A Man’s Man by Susan Mitchell (about Tony Abbott)

Most Talked About Reads

The Wolf by Joseph Smith
This book definitely takes the prize for the most talked about book of the meeting. One of our readers heartily disliked it, calling it chaotic, with awful punctuation and sentence structure (among other things) while another of our readers loved its bleakness and its beauty, its animal point of view and its heartwrenching storyline. It’s always great to see how the same book can be seen so differently!!

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
Rice’s new book takes a spin into the world of werewolves, but is it up her usual standard?  One of our readers says no. We think it’s still worth a read, if only to see if Rice really has jumped on the Twilight bandwagon.
 

 

 

 

 

Blast from the Past:

Mary Renault, The Last of the Wine

Mary Renault was born in London, where her father was a doctor. She first went to Oxford with the idea of teaching, but decided that she wanted to be a writer instead, and that after taking her degree she should broaden her knowledge of human life. She then trained for three years as a nurse, and wrote her first published novel, Promise of Love. Her next three novels were written during off-duty time when serving in World War II. One of them, Return to Night, received the MGM award. After the war, she went to South Africa and settled at the Cape. She has traveled considerably in Africa and has gone up the east coast to Zanzibar and Mombasa. But it was her travels in Greece that resulted in her previous brilliant historical reconstructions of ancient Greece. The Last of the Wine, The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, The Mask of Apollo, Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy, and The Praise Singer. In addition to the novels, she has written a biography of Alexander the Great, The Nature of Alexander (from Fantastic Fiction, 28.3.2012).

Novels:
Purposes of Love (1934)  aka Promise of Love Kind Are Her Answers (1940) The Friendly Young Ladies (1944) Middle Mist (1945) Return to Night (1947) North Face (1948) The Charioteer (1955) The Last of the Wine (1956) The King Must Die (1958) The Bull From the Sea (1962) Lion in the Gateway (1964) The Mask of Apollo (1966) The Praise Singer (1978)

Series:
Alexander the Great 1. Fire from Heaven (1969) 2. The Persian Boy (1972) 3. Funeral Games (1981)